March 20, 2020
Dear Classical Mythology students,
Welcome to my blog, which I have been running for most of the last decade. It’s a fairly low-tech venue, and one I am familiar with, so I have been thinking that it might be the right format for the future teaching of our class.
Let me ask you to listen to this voice memo above, in .m4a format, and tell me whether or not listening to a recording like this is going to be OK for you as a way for me to run class. Shoot me a quick email to say either “My internet connection isn’t going to work for this” or “This will be just fine.”
Also– and this means a lot to me –let me know how you are doing during these very strange days.
Discussion of two images of Heracles and Hera
Galaxy (from Greek, gala, galaktos, “milk”)
putti (cherubs in Renaissance art)
In Tintoretto’s Origin of the Milky Way
Jupiter coasts in, thrusting
baby Hercules at
Juno’s breast. She sprawls
naked, her luxe Venetian bed
entangled in cloud. Four
cherubim zoom in with bow
and arrows; her peacocks
watch. Shining rays
spray from her nipples:
the right streaming down to plant
lilies in earth; the left shooting
up—past the bastard
infant’s head and her bangled
arm upflung into sky—
to flower in ten golden stars.
All the faces, even her mask
of perfection, gaze
at that miracle of milk. Startled
awake, she leans back,
bare foot treading
thundercloud, one hand open
above all their heads,
as if she, goddess of childbirth,
had just flung new-
born stars. The astonishment
of milk arcing out
into space, her stranger body
showering in spontaneous creation.
BTW, If you like this poem, there are a few more of Barbara Ungar’s ecphrastic poems (poems about artworks) at this link.